Lobster and broadbeans at Gregan’s Castle in the Burren
In April, when the fresh broad beans were at their peak, chef Robbie McCauley at Gregan’s Castle served this luscious stack of sweet Irish lobster meat piled on a bed of the tender beans and topped with aromatic fennel. The lobster came from nearby Liscannor Bay. It was a pretty simple appetizer, but the stunning ingredients made it remarkable.
I grew up eating lobster in New England and its always been the family favorite for big celebrations. As luck would have it, our house in New Quay is about a mile away from the quay (pier) where our neighbor Gerry Sweeny docks his lobster boat. His wife, Martina Sweeny runs Burren Seafood, a little shop that sells lobster, oysters, clams, mussels and fresh fish. Linanne’s Lobster Pub is located at the same quay.
Oddly, despite the bounty of local waters, the Irish are not big on seafood. Much of the shellfish harvested at New Quay, like the velvet and spider crabs, are exported directly to France and Spain. The Irish don’t eat these kind of crabs, so none are offered in the market, I was told.
A crew of Irish seafood evangelists are trying to change things. The group includes a lot of chefs, some fishermen, a bunch of marine biologists and a few food writers. Through seminars, tastings, farmers markets, and festivals they are promoting Irish seafood across the country.
Thanks to Robbie McCauley for his efforts in this campaign and for putting lrish fish, oysters, crabs and lobsters on the menu at Gregan’s Castle.